update: do I need to work with the woman my father had an affair with?

It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and all December I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past.

Remember the letter-writer whose office was considering hiring the woman her father had recently cheated on her mom with (while the woman was the letter-writer’s roommate, no less)? Here’s the update.

Your advice, and the advice of your commentators, were spot-on! I spoke to my boss a few hours after the thread went up. I went with the 2nd script you suggested. My boss was really glad I came to her. She had already scheduled an interview with Cersei before I came to her, but she let me know that they weren’t planning to hire her.

And she didn’t! I know there are a lot of sad updates about bosses not holding to things they promise, but this isn’t one of them. I work well with the GA they ended up hiring, and continue to enjoy my job.

Unfortunately, Cersei was hired by another department my job has some overlap with, so I have to see her more than I’d like. To be fair, I’d never like to see her, but every week or so is definitely too much. I’m professional when I have to interact with her, even though I wish I could ignore her. It would definitely be too apparent to coworkers if I were cold to her. The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference- and I’m working on becoming indifferent to her. Luckily, she should be finishing her program this spring.

I was pretty active in the comments of the post, and I really can’t express just how grateful I am for the advice and kindness of so many people. I was really struggling with feelings of isolation- like I had to bear this secret by myself- and it was a profound relief to get to talk about it. The professional and life advice/input I received were absolutely incredible.

A few weeks after I wrote, I ended up sitting down to have a conversation with Cersei. In the immediate aftermath of discovering the affair, she told me that she’d be open to talking whenever I was ready. I felt ready (and my therapist supported me), so I reached out. It was a frustrating conversation, but one I’m glad I had. She didn’t have good answers to the questions I had, but there were also no good answers to the questions I had. I hope that makes sense?

There’s still a lot of grief and sadness I’m still dealing with, and I’m working on letting my life continue. My parents are still kind of together, and I intend to stick by my mom wherever she goes from here.

Thank you so much for helping me stick up for myself, and all your professional advice.

{ 110 comments… read them below }

  1. Jennifer*

    I’m sorry you still have to see her every week. As you said, there’s no answer she could ever give that would make what she did okay so I’m not surprised that the conversation with her was frustrating. I hope you reach the place of indifference soon.

    1. Observer*

      Totally not surprising. But I can also see why the OP is glad to have had the conversation. It’s just so easy to wonder if there are any answers, if there is anything that could help you understand. And as frustrating as it is to NOT get those answers, the finality can be freeing. No more trying to chase answers or even “closure.”

      This is what the situation and that’s what you get to deal with without thinking that maybe something will change. Hoping for something that won’t happen is the pits.

    2. JSPA*

      Sex aside, OP was used, quite horribly, as a pawn.

      I’m not sure that “indifference” is a healthy response to that. Even at work.

      Indifference to someone who engaged in adultery? Sure, hard though that may be. But using people in so calculated a way…that’s scary stuff. If you’re the person whose smile freezes in dealing with her, you’ll be the prescient one when she stabs someone in the back professionally (quite possibly in short order).

        1. Caliente*

          Well in the firs letter OP talks about how Cersei moved in with her to be near her father. So dad was probably all “I’m going to daughters house” not I’m going to my jump-offs place.

          1. JSPA*

            Yup. Roommate and dad were together the “entire” time. Roommate became roommate, in the first place, for access / simplified access / no questions asked if he’s in the area access to Dad (and Dad to her).

            That’s not a weak moment, or thinking with your gonads, or free thinkerism, or general bad boundaries. That’s olympic level, premeditated user-ism.

            (I’m going along with OP’s not explicitly stated but pretty clear belief that the set-up wasn’t dad’s idea in the first place. That alternative would instead make OP and her work nemisis both, on different levels, victims of Dad’s self-serving maneuvering.)

            1. Sansa*

              Yeah, from everything I’ve learned and observed, the set-up wasn’t my father’s idea and the affair only started (both physically and emotionally) after she moved in with me. Regardless, he’s very much responsible for his role in this!

              1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

                Okay – all I can say is wow, that’s just, wow words are failing here.

                That’s some serious level acting like the world is filled with cardboard human-shaped things for me to do stuff to.

                Hopefully Cersei eventually realizes that this is a really crappy way to go through life and work.

                1. Sansa*

                  I hope, for the sake of the people’s lives she’s still in, that she changes and takes accountability for the shit she’s done. And I also hope she’s honest with them about it

              2. Close Bracket*

                I’ve read everything you’ve said here. What’s really jumping out at me is that you are maintaining a relationship with your father (on your terms, and good for you for setting those boundaries), but you aren’t able to work with Cersei even though working with someone doesn’t necessitate having a relationship beyond work duties. Based on many of the things you have said here, I think you put a lot less responsibility on your father for his role than you do on Cersei for hers. Since you do have to have a professional relationship with Cersei, and you might have to have one again in the future since you are in the same field, it’s worth exploring the differing weights and working on trusting yourself to interact with her even if you don’t want to be friends. As shameful as her behavior was, after all, she is not the one who made a commitment to your mother. Your father is. This might be a one-issue-at-a-time thing, but if you can bring yourself to maintain a relationship with your father, you have the wherewithal to bring yourself to interact professionally with his affair partner.

                1. Sansa*

                  I do interact with her professionally, or at least I think I do. I’ve communicated with her about events we’ve had to run together, facilitated discussions with her as part of my team, and that kind of thing. And no one has come to me or my boss saying “it seems like Sansa and Cersei don’t work well together.”

                  As of right now, I have to see her about once a week for this. I see my father less than that. If Cersei was in the role I initially wrote about (where she’d be managing my schedule and I’d be seeing her most days) I don’t think I would have been able to work with her for my own health. I like to think I would be able to be professional, but I would also be incredibly unhappy and stressed out.

                2. Sansa*

                  I think it comes down to the fact I have to view them as separate issues rn. I don’t interact with either of them more than I have to, but I am able to interact with both to the extent that someone who doesn’t know the intricacies of the situation doesn’t see that it’s strained.

      1. Sansa*

        To be clear, I’m not indifferent to her and my father’s actions. I am angry and hurt, and may continue to be angry and hurt for a long time. I’m trying to be indifferent to her as a person, and not let her? Ruin my relationships and trust with my actual friends, or my experience here.

        1. mcr-red*

          I think indifference to people who have wronged you in such a profound way like this takes a lot of time. So don’t be hard on yourself, Sansa, if you feel like you can’t be around her without feeling upset. I think that’s very normal. Often I feel like people push you to “forgive” or be “over it” in an unrealistic amount of time.

          My ex cheated on me and was emotionally abusive. I don’t hate him and I don’t love him. If I see him, I don’t feel panicked or upset. I can even sit and make small talk with him. But I don’t like him. I don’t want to spend any time with him. But it has taken a while to get here.

          1. AnotherAlison*

            IME, up to 8 years is not enough. My situation is similar to the OP, minus the “other woman” being a roommate of mine. My dad had an affair (again) when I was an adult, and my parents stayed married (again). It’s not top of mind every day, but my dad is a very difficult guy for many reasons, and my mother clearly does not trust him (still). Every time I have to interact with them together, it is a struggle. I can only hope the OP’s dad is an otherwise great man and dad, and she will be able to rebuild the relationship. People think that they can do things that affect other people and then go back to how things were. It never, ever works that way.

          2. Anonymous Flower*

            Thank you for sharing your experience; it’s something I really needed to hear. Two-ish years ago, someone I thought was becoming a friend hurt me in a lesser-but-similar way to OP’s situation, and it’s taking a loooong time for that anger to cool. Even now I feel extremely anxious if I think I might have to be in the same *room* as her. But, like OP, I’m also trying to move to a place of indifference. Holding onto the anger is no longer doing me any good and is probably doing me harm, but it is still hard.

        2. Observer*

          Mcr-red has it right, I think.

          But, I think you are on the right track. Because once you truly get to that point, that’s a lot of energy you don’t wind up spending on someone.

      2. Jennifer*

        Indifference in the sense that you don’t feel a flash of anger or hurt every time you have to see someone. That can be exhausting if you work for the same organization and see them weekly.

      3. Artemesia*

        Indifference is a powerful weapon. If you have to fake indifference, it is still worth doing. People who do provocative things live off of other people’s distress; indifference is powerful.

        1. JSPA*

          I just don’t want OP to feel it’s a failure if the indifference mask slips and distain or disgust show through.

          1. Sansa*

            Thank you for mentioning that! It’s a long term goal, not a short term one, and I’m mostly feeling ok with allowing myself to feel hurt and angry and confused and hurt again as much as I need to.

            I want her to think I’m indifferent, though. I think if she thinks I hate her, that gives her more power than I’d like to.
            Whenever she sees me, she mostly looks a combination of nervous and sad.

      4. Observer*

        You can be indifferent to someone as person while still being VERY, VERY cautious about them. Like if there is a scorpion in the room, you’re not going to be angry at it, but you are going to be very cautious to not get stung. And once the scorpion is gone, you’re not going to worry about it or even worry about if it’s getting “punished”.

        1. Sansa*

          YES EXACTLY this is my perspective. I don’t want to be around her, much less trust her. And I’m watching my back/staying cognizant.

  2. Ginger*

    Yay for a great boss.

    Booo for having to see her but sounds like the end is in sight?

    OP, you’re a better person that I am. I’m sorry you are in this situation and I’m sorry shitty people do shitty things and only have shitty answers to explain them. All the non-creepy internet hugs.

    1. Sansa*

      The end is in sight! I actually ran into her yesterday, but I’m counting down the weeks until she graduates and hopefully moves the hell away!

      Honestly I don’t know if there are any non-shitty answers! It’s a situation that never should have happened and never should have crossed either of their minds. Thank you for the hugs!

  3. A Simple Narwhal*

    I’m sorry to hear that you still have to see her, but LW you are so incredibly strong for handling things how you have. It can be so hard to get to the point of indifference with someone who hurt you, but you can and will absolutely get there. Keep us updated, you’ve got a lot of people rooting for you in the comments!

    1. Sansa*

      I really appreciate your response, and I’ll do my best to keep y’all posted while staying as anonymous as possible

  4. What’s with Today, today?*

    I’m sad and sorry your company ended up hiring her in another area. That seems so odd. I work for a small family owned company though, so I don’t have any experience with being not eligible for hire by one department due to personal conflict, but still being able to be hired by a another department.

    1. AnotherAlison*

      Yeah, agree, that was the disappointing part of the story. I always sort of wonder how people sometimes get trapped in this tiny circle of people and places. Cersei knew the OP, became roommates with her to be closer to her father, and then pursued a job at the same place. I mean, find a new group of people, Cersei.

      1. A*

        OP stated that her job and housing is through her school, and given that she refers to Cersei finishing her program – I’m guessing they are both students.

    2. Kyrielle*

      I’ve been in mostly larger companies my career, and in general, the decisions tend to be local to departments. Something bad like an ethics violation would go in an HR file and get you blacklisted from the company, but an interpersonal conflict with one person would usually be considered by the people who were told, but not passed along beyond the department.

      I mean, Cersei is apparently competent and professional. What she isn’t, is someone the OP can work with comfortably on a daily basis. Hiring her into a department with *no* interaction would probably not be a big deal.

      It’s unfortunate that this person ended up having interaction with the OP after all, though.

    3. Detective Amy Santiago*

      I don’t think it seems odd at all. There’s no reason that another department would consult OP or her manager about making that hire.

    4. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      I got the impression this was a smaller community, and not a lot of options in certain industries (which both OP and Cersei were in).
      But yeah, it was crappy that she got hired in an adjacent field and OP has to deal with her once a week, but at least it’s not every day in the same chain of command (and also there may be an end point in sight).

      OP, I hope you continue to focus on you and what you need, and glad you’re in therapy. Truth can be crazier than fiction.

    5. One of the Spreadsheet Horde*

      In a large company it’s not odd. Departments make their own hiring decisions.

      For the LW, is it possible to discuss with your manager or coworkers a way that duties can be adjusted so someone else deals with Cersei’s department or at least it reduces your interactions over there? I’m with you on the less you have to deal with her (ideally never), the better for everyone. You’ve handled this extremely well.

      1. Sansa*

        My supervisor knows I’m not comfortable working with Cersei, and has done her best to make sure I’m not scheduled to be the only person available for these events- that way there’s less pressure on me. Honestly I think I’m seeing her as little as possible considering how small our campus is and how much it turns out these departments and work together. Fortunately, I’ve felt comfortable tapping out of some events/switching some duties so as to avoid unnecessary face-time with Cersei! My bosses are really nice and have been helpful

        1. One of the Spreadsheet Horde*

          That’s unfortunate that the departments are so intertwined but I’m so glad your bosses are so supportive.

    6. Sansa*

      As a few commentators guessed in the initial letter, we’re both associated with the same university. She was not hired by the department I work for, but she was hired by a sister department and there’s some regular overlap in the events we do. Fortunately, I don’t report to her and am not reliant on her for scheduling

      1. OrigCassandra*

        Oof, yeah, in most universities information-passing about prospective hires doesn’t happen between departments. (We did dodge a bullet in our department once… but that was because of someone the candidate had explicitly listed as a reference!) I’m sorry, Sansa, that’s rough on you.

      2. Glitsy Gus*

        It also sounds like she’s at least self aware enough to not come seek you out any more than is necessary to do your jobs. I know it’s never good to see her, but it would be so much worse if she thought that your being polite meant it was water under the bridge and she could try to be chummy again.

        1. Sansa*

          I think she briefly got that impression after our talk, but it wasn’t merited. I’ve been polite but cold, and she’s gone back to giving me plenty of space

  5. Jedi Squirrel*

    She didn’t have good answers to the questions I had, but there were also no good answers to the questions I had. I hope that makes sense?

    It does. Sometimes you don’t need the answers, you just need to verbalize the questions and get them out of your head.

    I’m sorry this isn’t quite the ending you wanted, but I’m glad you’re feeling better and working through things. Here’s to a great 2020 for you!

    1. Hey Karma, Over Here*

      Even no answer is an answer. “why did you sleep with my Dad, cersei?” Because. I felt like it. There may be no more to it than that. You ever walk down the street as a kid and step on a bug? kick an ant hill? pull the head off a flower?
      Why did you do that?
      “I don’t know!”
      You must have a reason!
      No, you don’t. You have impulses and you can choose to act on them or not. She chose to. And so did your dad, OP. And accepting that they did it because they felt like it should take some of the power and mystery away. They are not conniving sociopaths, they are people, acting like selfish children.

      1. Sansa*

        I agree, as uncomfortable as that is! There is a part of me that wants to see them as monsters, but I agree that it gives them too much power. They have full responsibility for their actions.

        And I have full responsibility for mine- which is (I think) pretty fucking mature and professional!

        1. Mimi Me*

          And I have full responsibility for mine- which is (I think) pretty fucking mature and professional!

          Based on your update and responses I’d have to wholeheartedly agree!!! You’ve definitely behaved more professionally than I think I would have in your situation.

        2. Sparrow*

          It sounds like you’re handling yourself with more grace and maturity than most people could manage! This is a terrible situation and I hope you can excise it from your regular life very soon, but I think you’ll be able to look back at the way you handled this with no regrets. Is it weird to say I’m proud of you? (Also, kudos to your bosses – I work in higher ed and have definitely encountered people who wouldn’t be so thoughtful!)

      2. Engineer Girl*

        Many times when you ask “why?” the offender will say “I don’t know!” They may want to believe that it was just poor impulse control.

        In their heart of hearts, I think that they do know. The answer is “I wanted what I wanted and I didn’t care who I hurt to get it!” But admitting that would make them a “bad” person in their own eyes. So they go with “I don’t know” to avoid accountability.

        This inability to admit/see that they have done wrong has trapped them forever into being a horrible person. Only a person that admits their mistakes can move forward into better humanity.

        1. Sansa*

          Oh that’s an excellent perspective. One of the things she did say when we spoke was that she didn’t have reasons/rational for what she did, but she did it anyway. I hope she’s working on things to improve herself and her behavior going forward.

          And I don’t want to be the recipient of those improvements. I don’t want her to be a part of my life or my mom’s life.

          She’s someone I cared about for years. I met her when I was 16 and very much in need of a friend, and for four years she held a place in my heart closer to that of a sister than a friend. So there is still a part of me that wants her to? Be well. And that said there’s a bigger part of me that wants not to care.

          1. Engineer Girl*

            That’s a severe betrayal. She’ll always be stuck in the shallow end of the pool. Rich and deep relationships will always be beyond her because those need trust to survive. And she can’t trust because she isn’t trustworthy. She will always question others motives because her own are warped.

            1. Sansa*

              It’s an unfortunate life she’s made for herself.
              And I’m doing my best to not let her ruin the rest of the world and other people for me.

  6. Detective Amy Santiago*

    Oh, OP. I am so glad your manager listened to your concerns and didn’t hire her, though it’s unfortunate you need to interact with her at all. I am SO proud of you for taking the high road and not telling everyone at work what she did to you because I don’t know if I could have done that.

    Best wishes to you and your mom!

  7. Lilo*

    I remember this letter, I was really concerned Cersei was trying to use the job to force contact OP didn’t want. It was all very creepy. Don’t hesitate to go to your boss if she tries to force unwanted nonwork contact on you.

    1. Sansa*

      I will keep that in mind! She hasn’t tried to force contact so far, and hopefully won’t in the future

      1. GovSysadmin*

        If all else fails, you could ask your brother’s girlfriend to use her dragons to attack their department. (Sorry. :) )

        1. Sansa*

          Oh, don’t be sorry! It’s funny. The reason I chose these names was because of how sansa saw Cersei as? A role model, as someone she wanted to be like!

          Until Cersei and her ilk showed their true colors.

  8. Miss Vicki*

    Letter Writer, you deserve a world of credit for the emotional intelligence you are displaying here. So sorry all of this wild, unpleasant stuff has happened to you. You’re dealing with it like a major pro.

    1. The Supreme Troll*

      Sansa absolutely is, and I admire her strength for it. I wish her all the best in this coming year.

    2. Sansa*

      Thank you so much! The comment section was so supportive and really helped remind me that I was doing my best, and my best was good enough

      1. RUKiddingMe*

        Can I ask how things are with seeing/interacting with your dad?

        Particularly as the holidays are here again and “faaammmiiilllyyy…”

        Are you able to spend time with him or have conversations that at least appear to be normal or is it more like you feel when dealing with Cersei?

        1. Sansa*

          I’m able to spend time with him, although I don’t always enjoy it. Sometimes I do? I miss the relationship we used to have. I still care about him and love him, even though I don’t always want to.

          A lot of our conversations (I think) carry new undertones because of the affair. I don’t trust him or go to him with a lot of what’s going on in my life, and am more selective with what I do. He’s, I think, doing his best to respect my boundaries. And is mostly doing an ok job at it.

          I think he’s doing his best to improve at being a father and a husband. And that he’s beyond lucky that he still has a place in my mom’s and my life- and he knows how lucky he is

            1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

              From having been thru the family member hurting me stuff (but never even close to your level of betrayal), it’s going to be hard for a long time. Give yourself time to heal and don’t push/pressure things. Allow yourself to have the boundaries you need to heal, and accept that the relationship will never 100% be what it was before, and that is just a part of life.

              1. Sansa*

                Thank you very much! I’ve learned a lot about how tell him what my boundaries are/the role I’m willing to let him hold in my life. I’m very lucky to be able to get therapy.

  9. MicroManagered*

    OP I’m glad you spoke up! It sucks that you still ended up having to work with her in any capacity, but I’m willing to bet it’s easier to see her once a week knowing that you spoke up at work and were able to confront her about it. (Even if there are no good answers, I’d almost guarantee this feels better than saying nothing and letting her get hired would have.)

    1. Sansa*

      While not very classy, I know that in the course of our friendship I mentioned reading this site, and there were times she told me she checked it out. I can’t help but wonder A) if she read my letter and B) if she realized it was me who wrote?

      To be clear, I didn’t write because I intended to be petty- i wrote for advice, which I used and benefited from! But I’m not necessarily classy to my core.

      1. Oranges*

        Actually, I don’t think of that as petty. You needed a resource and used it regardless of the impact on Cersi. You decided that your need trumped hers. Which it did.

        However you’re human and the idea that she read your letter does give you some… satisfaction? Because she (might have) read how her actions effected you without a way for her to harm you by responding. That’s normal human.

        If you had not needed advice and written in to shame/hurt her. That wouldn’t be cool. But still totally understandable.

        If you had tried to poison her life. That would be a problem of whoa, you’re going off the rails. You should get some help.

        So, yeah, class act.

  10. Abogado Avocado*

    This update makes me think you’ve been incredibly brave. It may not feel that way from your end, but it sure seems that way from this end of the telescope. You stepped forward and made your needs known by advising your boss of the relationship between Cersei and your Dad, you had to bear up through the forced interaction with Cersei, and you later sat down with her and asked the questions you needed to ask. I hope never find myself in this situation, but your example shows all of us how you can navigate a difficult path and do so with dignity. Thank you for the update. I wish you all the best.

  11. ResuMAYDAY*

    “…but there were also no good answers to the questions I had.”
    I think truer words were never spoken. I’m not sure I’d be brave enough, or diplomatic enough to attempt a civilized conversation. This is a situation where there is absolutely no rule book, and you handled it so well. I’m sorry you had to go through all this, but this is one of those life events that shows just how strong you really are.

    1. Sansa*

      Thank you for your kind words! I am a much more resilient person than I thought I was. I wish I didn’t know that because of this situation- and I’m trying to learn to let myself be proud of how I’ve managed to get by.

  12. Pants*

    You are a far better person than I am. I’d probably go to lunch with the office gossip and “accidentally” mention what she did.

    1. Torgo*

      Handling it that way can backfire. I may end up not respecting you very much, for conflating work and personal issues. Sansa has handled this whole awful thing beautifully.

      1. Pants*

        Oh, she totally did. I’m a petty asshole in hypothetical situations. Were I actually in Sansa’s shoes, I wouldn’t say anything beyond what she did. However, I’d probably be far more confrontational with her 1 on 1. No need to sabotage her reputation. Eventually she’ll do that on her own.

          1. Sansa*

            Oh, sometimes I do! And I have been petty with some people- just not ones at work.

            On a petty note, when we had this conversation? (Well I did get more tearful than I hoped to, but so did she) there was one point when I mentioned having told someone we both knew/him having figured it out (one of my best friends, someone she was also friends with), and she looked so crestfallen.

            Well, Cersei? I don’t have to protect your reputation. I’m not gonna lie, and it’s my business who I tell- even and especially when it comes to people we both know.

            I’m not going to be vengeful about it, but? I don’t have to protect her reputation either.

            1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

              And also, this is among the social circle not her professional circle. It’s different if people are asking why you don’t hang out with somebody who had been a really good friend as opposed to blabbing to all and sundry all the details.

  13. animaniactoo*

    A mix of good and bad in this update. I do hope that she graduates soon and you will be able to drop-kick her from your active “people I have to ever associate with” list.

    As far as having “no good answers” – that does make sense, and I hope that Cersei (for her own benefit) came away with an understanding that there were no good answers to those questions. From your side – there’s a lot of power in being able to verbalize the issues you have to the person you have them with. It’s a sense of ownership, that you have choice and ability to act in a way that feels meaningful – even if nothing came of it. It’s as much as you were able to do, given that there is no other resolution that still allows you to consider yourself a good person in general and is more than sitting there going “well, uh, okay?”.

    Sooooo glad to hear that your boss(es?) continue to be supportive and as helpful as possible. Thanks for updating us, and I wish you peace and good things going forward. Also this [hug] from a random internet stranger if you’d like to accept it.

    1. Sansa*

      I accept your hug, and offer you several in return! I still have your comments screenshotted on my phone- you were kind and helpful and really insightful. I can’t thank you enough.

  14. Anon For This One*

    OP, I’m glad this story has a positive-ish outcome and good for you for speaking up. I emphasize with the difficult conversation and not getting the answers you wanted there. I recently did something similar with my father. Just being able to have the conversation was a help. At least I was able to vocalize my pain and my perspective, and now I feel better equipped to have more indifference about the situation, since I know personally I’ve done everything I can to have closure and a resolution.

    1. Sansa*

      I’m glad it was helpful to you! I actually feel like I’m able to stand up to my father now in a way I wasn’t able to before. I wish it hadn’t taken this- and I’m also glad I. Can do this now.

  15. Bob Namewithheldforobviousreasons*

    This reminds me of the time my ex-wife, who was at the time dating one of my longtime coworkers, applied for an executive assistant position working for our division president.

    Yes, this would have meant that she and her boyfriend and her ex-husband would all be working in the same office.

    As soon as I learned of it I went to talk to him (very grateful that he seemed genuine with his promises of an “open-door policy”). I mayyyy have gone a little overboard; I divulged the relationships, gave a little light personal history, and concluded that I couldn’t see her being there as anything other than a hostile work environment.

    She did not get the job.

    1. Sansa*

      Ugh- what a terrible situation! I’m glad your bosses’ policy was there, and I’m glad you came forward and she didn’t get the job.

      As a side note, there was a commentator on the original post who said that me talking to my boss about not being able to work with Cersei if she was hired was me creating a hostile work environment? And I Still Don’t Understand That

  16. Katniss Evergreen*

    Yikes LW, this situation was a bear. I’m glad she didn’t end up working on your team but not that you still have to see this woman. Best of luck.

    1. Sansa*

      Thank you! Sadly I saw her yesterday. She lives in grad housing, and sadly I have a class in that building.

  17. Nancy pelosi*

    My question to Cersei: why does she want to be around Sansa so bad? Cersei has already hurt and used her and irreparably damaged the relationship; now she’s applied for at least two jobs in the same company as Sansa. Is there no other company in town Cersei can work for? What’s up with that….?

    1. Sansa*

      She’s a grad student at the university where I’m an undergraduate, and the jobs are through the university! If it were the same company, I think it would be a lot creepier.

      While I wish I didn’t have to see her; I probably would have internalized some wholly unnecessary blame if she had quit her program. I know (and remind myself) I am not to blame and am not the guilty party, but unfortunately feelings aren’t always rational.

      1. Nancy pelosi*

        Okay that definitely makes more sense, thank you for clarifying! Hopefully like Hulu said, she moves on when she graduates and gets out of your hair for good….

  18. MahCiiii*

    I missed the original for this!! ( After reading for so long, that is always such a shock… )
    OP, I had a similar situation, though rather than a friend/roommate, it was an aunt (mother’s brother’s wife). She too did shocking things to connect or associate with myself and other family members/friends after the affair. I left a job after she befriended a coworker and coming to my job site constantly, and she dated my brothers’ best friend’s family member to be closer to him. I fear for your mental health being in such close proximity to this woman, whether for her potential actions or simply your healing process. The kind of betrayal you experienced cuts extremely deep, and in places you couldn’t imagine pain living until it’s illuminated months or years later. It’s absolutely, undeniably 100% fine for you to not find indifference (being “over it”), or to be slow to it, or to feel it sporadically. In your position, I would document her interactions with you at work and otherwise treat her as a business tool- giving her the information she needs and receiving the information from her you need. If a (even slightly) better job opportunity came up, I would jump at it. However, your decision of how to handle this is yours- and so far, you’ve handled this diplomatically and with utmost class, which is impressive. Wishing you the absolute best moving forward

  19. KoolMan*

    This is really appalling how almost all of the commentators tend to blame Cersei for all this and no one points a finger at the OPs father. No wonder it is always women who tend to be hard on other women. And I applaud Cersei for having a chat with the OP, considering she didn’t have to. The OPs father is also a nasty piece of work, who had no qualms about having sex with Cersei, knowing well that his daughter is also a resident in the same house.

    And this is coming from a man.

    1. Asenath*

      I don’t think anyone is ignoring the father’s responsibility here – Sansa said somewhere that her mother and he and the rest of the family are working through what happened, with, it sounds like, an emphasis on his responsibility for his actions. But Sansa’s immediate problem was with Cersei trying to get a job in the same place that Sansa worked, so that problem was the focus of most of the responses.

    2. Goya de la Mancha*

      I don’t think anyone holds the father blameless. The letter is just not about him and his actions. It’s about Cersei, her actions, and how to deal with her on a professional level.

    3. The Supreme Troll*

      I don’t know…I certainly wouldn’t go as far as to say that I “applaud” Cersei for talking to Sansa. Maybe Cersei has some remorse, or maybe she wanted to provide reasons to justify her actions (which I tend to think is the latter here). Cersei certainly isn’t brave, or a victim in this situation, just saying.

    4. HarvestKaleSlaw*

      This happens all of the time – and I agree with you that it is enraging and awful. In this situation, though – the guy is the OP’s father, and he has patched things up with her mother/his wife. The OP chose to keep the relationship with her father. So it’s more complicated.

      1. HarvestKaleSlaw*

        If you really want to delve into it though – you can displace more of your anger about a betrayal onto the person you don’t have to preserve a relationship with. Historically, women have been entirely dependent on their husbands – financially and for their position in society. If your literal physical survival depended on your relationship with your husband, you couldn’t display any crankiness or surliness toward him. The other woman, though, was a safe and socially acceptable target for your anger. This stuff persists.

    5. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      I think (like the other two replies here) that the emphasis is on Cersei because Cersei was the one applying to work with OP, not the dad. Hence the advice being asked for was “how do I deal with the half of this mess” that wants to now be present full time with me where I work.

      Also, in both the original (and confirmed in the update) the OP mentioned that she felt used by her former friend because that friend moved in with OP on purpose to facilitate the affair. Dad isn’t blameless, and Sansa does speak in her comments about how their relationship has been damaged by this. She also says a few times she holds both of them responsible for their mutual actions in the affair.

      But again, OP wasn’t in the position of dad applying to work in the same department as she did – Cersei is the one that wanted to work at the same place as OP.

    6. A*

      This was spoken to in the comments of the original letter. OP wrote in about Cersei, not her father. It’s all in the effort of staying on topic. I haven’t seen a single comment in this thread, or the original, that indicate people view the father as blameless – quite the opposite since this was called out several times.

    7. Former Employee*

      I totally agree. The idea Cersei made herself available to the OP’s father, so she is the responsible party is absurd. These are college students, so Cersei is in her early 20’s at most while the OP’s father is a middle aged man who is married to someone else; he should know better.

      In addition, whoever said that Cersei was committing adultery is incorrect. The OP’s father, a married man, is committing adultery. Unless Cersei has a secret husband, she is unmarried, so she is not committing adultery aka: cheating, being unfaithful, etc.

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